Holocaust memorial arrives after 40 years of planning

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, Bert and Mary Louise Rosenbush dedicated a memorial at the B’nai Jeshrun Cemetery in Demopolis.

The day, known as Yom HaShoah in Hebrew, began in 1951 and commemorates the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, actions carried out by Nazi Germany against the Jews from 1933 to 1945.

“This is something that we all need to remember,” said Bert Rosenbush. “My family came to America in the 1800s, so they escaped the Holocaust, but I’ve always had a tender spot in my heart for the Holocaust victims.

“I’ve wanted this memorial for about 40 years. I went to Montreal, Canada, and saw what they had done there about 40 years ago. I’m a charter member of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum in Israel. It was a terrible thing in our lifetime, and let’s hope it is never repeated.”

Dr. Ron Hood, a professor emeritus at the University of Alabama, was the guest speaker at the event.

“It’s something unique to have a town with one Jewish person still living here to support his efforts to memorialize what happened and to help everyoneI just appreciate Bert and Mary Louise doing this and giving us the opportunity to come down and support the community.”

Demopolis had a strong Jewish community throughout most of the 20th Century, but as families moved away or people within the community passed away, the number of Jews in Demo-polis slowly dissipated to the one remaining today. The former B’Nai Jeshrun synagogue at the corner of Main Avenue and Monroe Street is now used to house the Food Pantry.

“I am just proud to be Jewish and to live in a free country,” Bert Rosenbush said.